When the Newness is Gone

Sherwood celebrated its 5th season this year. It was cold much of the first half. Rain threats kept folk at a distance—until the end—and then we experienced record crowds. Our patron base is remarkable. Even on a horrid day with rain and close to freezing weather, some 700+ loyal Sherwoodians came out. We closed the faire  down for the most part by 1pm and asked people into the Great Hall. Musicians, the Washing Well Wenches, the Falconer and other entertainers took to the impromptu stage and a grand time was had by all in a very intimate setting.

We thank you all for making this dream your dream. We thank you for the patronage, but more so for your unending giving to Sherwood.

But what the muses have inspired me to write about is something challenging: when the newness is gone.

There was great excitement at the start of Sherwood. The thrill was everywhere. It was a new approach at faire—owners being rennies themselves. Owners who wanted to be inclusive. Owners who believed that ownership was a myth… and that Sherwood was something quite different—about the sharing of a vision, about genuine desire for community, about embracing diversity, about the blank canvas I have written about before.

And as the five years have passed, it is time to reflect. It is time to consider what some have said—that the glow has diminished or dimmed, that Sherwood has become like other faires as they age.

I had one guy at the May gathering tell me as we sat at the Seven Sisters on Saturday night that he had had a realization that Sherwood was much a part of the real world—not separate. He spoke of working as an actor this last season and feeling somewhat disenchanted. He said he met too many jaded rennies who had worked the circuit and they brought with them all the same old baggage as people outside the faire.

I listened for a while. My mind was spinning. I thought about how I had even lost a bit of the zeal. Partly because we have had to face the realities that even amidst the beautiful and wonderful souls gathered at Sherwood, there are people who bring their worst. We have been sued. We have been stolen from. We have had to remove some from the campgrounds and even participants for behavior unbecoming.

Yet I thought: The world of dreams and hopes does not mean the world will be without its ugly side, its detractors, its spiritual vampires of sort.

And as I continued to reflect sitting there within the Seven Sisters…and person after person came up to reflect on the magic of Sherwood, on its beginnings, on the soul of the Stones…I challenged the young man.

Sherwood, while philosophically is part of the whole of creation, of the human experience—inside and outside of the faire experience–still remains different. It will remain a sanctuary—even when it is occasionally defiled. It was built on firm and lasting foundation stones that many believers laid. No other faire has the creation of clan space in camping. No other faire I know of have owners who share openly their love and respect of patrons, playtrons, and the rennie community. No other faire has had since its inception Gatherings throughout the year. No other faire have the Seven Sisters. No other faire has the community Sherwood does. No other faire has offered the creation and ongoing evolution of its existence and future into the hands of so many.

So, when the newness is gone…and the original shine has tarnished, it is a time to take out our polishing rags and put a little more elbow grease into assuring the aging of the faire only makes it more valuable to all who have given it its initial sparkle.

We will have bumps and dings along the way. We have some enter our sanctuary who do not bring their best to the fire circle. And at times, because we ourselves are human and imperfect, we will stumble. But we are the care takers: we are the stewards of a great ideal and vision—one we committed to for 700 years or more.




Category : All Posts & Rengypsy's Blog

One Comment → “When the Newness is Gone”

  1. psp4956
    3 years ago

    I’m here in Brenham, have been going to SF renfaire for a couple years, agree with about what happens when the Newness is gone. Always will have the negatives, but without the nite, there is no day, without sadness, no happiness. Anyway…
    What can I do, to help?
    I would be a novice, an “apprentice”, have mechanical skills, lots of people skills, retired military, (could be “dicey”)
    Paul P.

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